Staff Reflections on Race
In our "Reflections on Race" series, we encourage OLLI at ASU members, staff, and instructors to reflect on their past experiences, give space for their present emotions and thoughts, and provide insight and hope for the future. What do you want the younger generations to know about your experiences with race? What can we learn from the things you have heard, seen, participated in, felt, done? What has the present moment reminded you about the past?
We will be sending this project to ASU students, so they may learn from us as we learn from them.
Click here to submit your Reflection on Race.
Click here to read Member Reflections on Race.
Dr. Richard Knopf
Somewhere along the way, I learned that all of God’s children are created in God’s image. It breaks my heart when somewhere along the way, we forget that we are. Gentleness, love, acceptance, healing, caring, supporting, peace, embracing, encouraging. I think that’s the stuff that defines that kind of image. Hatred, prejudice, fear, distrust, anger, belittlement, disparagement, superiority. I think that’s the stuff that shreds the very core of being human. It’s the stuff that shreds the very core of goodness. That’s the stuff that we can overcome, shredding the negativity with love. What can we do together? To build a community of love? To build an enduring legacy? From generation to generation? That perpetuates nothing but love?
I was immediately lonely walking into the library last week. The OLLI classroom chairs were covered in plastic and shoved into a corner, and cafe tables sat sterile and empty, too. Even the espresso machine was hidden, draped by an orange plastic tablecloth. No sign of anyone.
Venturing toward the front of the library, I see the plexiglass germ shield around the "answers desk", sanitizer dispensers near doorways and three upholstered chairs spaced very far apart. After weeks of being shuttered, there are tiny signs of awakening and some of what the new normal will be.
COVID-19 was a shocking and unwelcome interruption to our routines. And human rights injustices in our country have stunned us in a profound way. I hope that as we cautiously re-open the library, this place of ideas, community and learning, it comes with optimism and energy to become better than it was before. I hope for a healthy, safe and welcoming public space for our deserving community.
"Every person, organization, and even society reaches a point at which they owe it to themselves to Hit Refresh -- to reenergize, renew, reframe, and rethink their purpose. If only it were as easy as punching that little refresh button on your browser. Sure, in this age of continuous updates and always-on technologies, hitting refresh may sound quaint, but still when it's done right, when people and culture re-create and refresh, a renaissance can be the result." - Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft)